Case Study Bedzed Water

BedZED: The UK's Biggest Eco-Community

The government'is committed to making all new homes and house building carbon neutral in the ongoing fight to prevent climate change. This will mean that all the carbon released in the build and day to day living in a property is neutralised by sequestering the same amount, therefore offsetting the effects. Sounds great - but making our homes green is easier said than done.

Many lessons can be learned by one existing eco community, which has been designed with carbon neutrality in mind. The Beddington Zero Energy Development - also known as BedZED, is the first and largest green, eco community in the UK. Its aim was to build an affordable, desirable and green place to live. In this article, we're looking at the BedZED development in more detail.

What Is BedZED?

BedZED is an eco community, consisting of 82 homes built on reclaimed land in Wallington, Surrey and was completed in 2002. According to the Peabody Trust, the social minded housing association and charity in London behind the development:

"The BedZED design concept was driven by the desire to create a net 'zero fossil energy development', one that will produce at least as much energy from renewable sources as it consumes. Only energy from renewable sources is used to meet the energy needs of the development. BedZED is therefore a carbon neutral development - resulting in no net addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere."

The Main Features of BedZED

Green BuildingsThe buildings were made using material specially designed to store heat when warm and release heat when colder - plus there's also the benefit of insulation around all the buildings. The build site was chosen because of its south facing position - which maximises the amount of sunlight reaching each property.

Renewable MaterialsThe BedZED eco community is built using renewable or recycled materials, sourced from sustainable forests and other sources. This helps to minimise the carbon footprint that went into the making of the homes.

Innovative HeatingThe design of each property means that all excess heat given off during everyday activities such as heating and cooking is stored and reused again. This helps to ensure that all forms of heat are used and not wasted, which in some cases eliminates the need to turn the heating on at all.

Reduce Energy ConsumptionThe finish in each property is designed with the environment in mind. This includes energy saving appliances and light bulbs as standard. The use of energy meters in each home helps make energy consumption more visible to each individual in their home, and more aware of how much energy each task in the home uses up.

Self Sufficient Heating and ElectricityBedZED receives its power from a small-scale combined heat and power plant. In energy generation at a coal power station, for example, the by product of heat that is given off during the generation of electricity is lost. With combined heat and power energy generation, this energy itself is harnessed and put into the system, used to heat water for all the properties, distributed using extra insulated pipes.

The plant itself is powered by off-cuts from tree surgery waste, which would otherwise reach the landfill.

BedZED: Changing House Building

The BedZED development caused a stir in the media when it was finished and opened in 2002 and has been praised for its environmental innovations. However the development has had its share of problems too - in particular overspend on its original budget, and several issues with the technology. However it can't be denied that BedZED has changed house builders' views on creating sustainable communities.

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I need to save Iris, where has she gone (I don't know). I want to rent a room from BedZed. Can someone tell me, How sustainable is Bedzed?

Flash - 6-Apr-17 @ 11:53 AM

hes safe and sound with me (he he he)

Philip - 23-Mar-17 @ 2:42 PM

Can anyone help me find my son

CosmicTommo - 23-Mar-17 @ 1:51 PM

hi please can you help me answer these questions How have they made BedZED zero emissions ?

kezz - 6-Mar-17 @ 10:41 AM

hi please can you help me answer a few questions the first thing i want to ask is if you can answer these questions >How have they made BedZED zero emissions ?

kezz - 6-Mar-17 @ 10:40 AM

clark - Your Question:

Is there a typo on the second line or how can you possibly believe that the government is actually going to complete there goal?


Our Response:

No, not a typo, it was written in 2008 and clearly then it was thought to be achievable by now! We've changed the text at the beginning of the article.

EnergySavingSecrets - 7-Dec-16 @ 12:36 PM

is there a typo on the second line or how can you possibly believe that the government is actually going to completethere goal?

clark - 6-Dec-16 @ 3:08 PM

my dad abused me, every night he would hit me and it wouldnt stop

gaddafi - 29-Nov-16 @ 1:01 PM

BedZED is sick.Loving those energy saving windows and whatever, only complaint is the fact living here is hell with the bloody vegans...

squilla the lady kil - 25-Nov-15 @ 12:50 PM

what is it like to live in bedZED

grackle4444 - 19-Feb-15 @ 5:36 PM

The Beddington Zero Energy Development (BedZED) may not be new news, but is a fabulous example of innovative, zero-energy, sustainable housing on a multi-unit scale. The residential and workspace development in the London borough of Sutton is a carbon-neutral community with plentiful green spaces, recycling facilities, water saving features, and a legally binding green transport plan. It’s the whole kit-and-caboodle of sustainable living, and has been a flourishing green community since its conception in 2002.



Designed by architect Bill Dunster, BedZED was conducted as a partnership between the BioRegional Development Group, the Peabody Trust, Bill Dunster Architects, Arup, and Gardiner and Theobald as cost consultants. The 82 houses, 17 apartments, and 1,405 m² of workspace were built between 2000-02, and the project was later shortlisted for the Stirling Prize in 2003.

The BedZED Development design meets very high environmental standards, with a strong emphasis on roof gardens, sunlight, solar energy, reduction of energy consumption, and waste water recycling. In terms of materials, BedZED is built from natural, recycled, or reclaimed materials. All the wood used is approved by the Forest Stewardship Council or comparable internationally recognized environmental organizations.

Using passive solar techniques, houses arranged in south facing terraces to maximize heat gain from the sun. Each terrace is backed by north facing offices, where minimal solar gain reduces the tendency to overheat and the need for energy-hungry air conditioning. A centralized heat and power plant (CHP) provides hot water, which is distributed around the site via a district heating system of super-insulated pipes. Should residents or workers require a heating boost, each home or office has a domestic hot water tank that doubles as a radiator. The CHP plant at BedZED is powered by off-cuts from tree surgery waste that would otherwise go to landfill.

One of BedZED’s unique community considerations is its take on transportation. The entire development has been designed to encourage alternatives to car use. A green transport plan promotes walking, cycling, and use of public transport. A car pool for residents has been established, and all these initiatives have helped to provide a strategic and integrated approach to transport issues. BedZED’s target is a 50% reduction in fossil-fuel consumption by private car use over the next 10 years compared with a conventional development. BedZED was the first low-car development in the UK to incorporate a car club, “ZEDcars.” A “pedestrian first” policy with good lighting, drop curbs for prams (strollers) and wheelchairs, and a road layout that keeps vehicles to walking speed.

Additionally, designers took great consideration of the development’s embodied energy, a measure of the energy required to manufacture a product. To reduce the embodied energy of BedZED, construction materials were selected for their low-embodied energy and sourced within a 35-mile radius of the site when possible. The energy expended in transporting materials to the site was therefore minimized.

And these highlighted features barely scratch the surface. BedZED boasts a laundry list of green innovations that were cutting edge in 2002 and continue to set a good example.

+ Beddington Zero Energy Development
+ The Peabody Trust
+ BioRegional Development Group

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